TransAsia Jet Clips Bridge, Crashes Into River in Taiwan

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At least nine people are dead after a Taiwanese TransAsia Airways plane crashed shortly after takeoff on Wednesday, landing in a shallow Taipei river. Dramatic dash-cam video posted online shows the plane clipping a bridge and hitting a taxi on the way down. The turboprop ATR 72-600 aircraft was headed from Taipei’s downtown airport to the island of Kinmen with 58 passengers and crew members onboard. Reuters reports that at least 9 people were killed, and 16 were rescued, with 33 unaccounted for.

Flight GE235 landed in the Keelung River and is now mostly submerged, with its wing missing. TV reports showed passengers in life jackets swimming out of the river and rescue crews in rubber rafts surrounding the fuselage. “At the moment, things don’t look too optimistic,” said Wu Jun-Hong, the Taipei Fire Department official coordinating the rescue. “Those in the front of the plane are likely to have lost their lives.”

The flight took off at 10:53 a.m. local time, and according to the Straits Times, the pilot radioed “mayday, mayday” but did not answer when air-traffic controllers responded. Civil aviation officials said the plane lost contact two minutes after takeoff.

This is the airline’s second crash in less than a year. In July a TransAsia plane crashed while trying to land on Penghu Island, killing 48 of the 58 people onboard.